Rushed Launch Leaves Future Of Programming Uncertain

Approximately one month after Plexapalooza, UGBC has released the final financial data from the concert, which was headlined by DJ Enferno. At the time, UGBC claimed that the concert broke even, but the recently released data calls into question the possibility of that statement. The reported expenses of the event totalled $21,506. Although UGBC did not report the revenue, it did report that 871 people attended the event. With tickets costing $15 apiece, this amounts to $13,605 in revenue, if all 871 attendees purchased tickets. Although there are almost always students who purchase concert tickets and do not attend, UGBC would need to have sold an additional 525 tickets, or an additional 60 percent of the number of people who attended, in order to have broken even. Melanie MacLellan, programming manager of on-campus events and A&S ’14, has declined to comment on this matter.

Given the mathematical improbability of Plexapalooza breaking even, it is disconcerting that UGBC has failed to offer any explanation for its statements since the concert. It is unclear why, if it did not have the full financial data available in the week after the concert, it would claim that the event broke even, rather than wait until it had all of the data before commenting. The problem is not that the concert lost money-that is to be expected for a college concert. A loss is only problematic when very few students attend, because that signifies that the concert did not accomplish its goal-namely, to entertain the student body. This scenario was not the case for Plexapalooza-the 871 people who attended account for two-thirds of the Plex’s 1,300 person capacity. The problem is that UGBC has failed to live up to its promises regarding transparency by not offering an explanation for why it claimed the concert broke even when it did not yet have all the data necessary to do so.

Next year, programming events will no longer be the responsibility of UGBC, but will be under the purview of the new programming board. The structure of this organization will include a president, vice president, and four departments, each with a director, an assistant director, and coordinators. Applications for these positions were posted via Twitter and sent out in a Nights on the Heights (NOTH) email on Thursday and via Facebook on Friday. They were due Sunday night. This gave students four days at the end of the semester-a very busy time of year-to apply for positions about which they likely knew very little. Recruitment for the positions would have benefited from greater publicity, as well as an information session for students to learn about the new board. The president and the vice president have already been selected by SPO and will join SPO in filling the rest of the positions.

One area in which the committee has achieved a measure of success is that it will not be constrained, in the way NOTH was, to holding events every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday between 8-11 p.m. This change will give the programming board more flexibility in how it allocates its funds, and is likely to be popular among the student body, but it is surprising that such a big change in the University’s policy toward weekend programming is passing without comment from the administration.

The committee has also set out plans to engage freshmen in the fall, which is crucial for recruiting and training the future leadership of the programming board.

As of now, there is still great uncertainty regarding the future of the programming board. While it is entirely possible that the programming board will be successful next year, the way matters have been handled thus far does not promote confidence.


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